Thursday, May 25, 2017

Travel Tips {Favorite Travel Gear}

Just a quick note -- I would say these products are best for kids aged about six months to two and a half or so.  The pack n play does have a bassinet so you could easily use it from day one.  The stroller has the ability to use a car seat adapter if needed and Tula makes carriers you can use from newborn to toddler!

Pack N Play -- we had a great pack n play that we used when the Peanut was a newborn and again when we moved here (for 8 weeks our sweet gal slept in it) -- that bad boy got a lot of use!  However, it is pretty big and bulky and we wanted a better one to travel with (that also didn't break the bank -- we were looking for under $100).  We found this amazing one that has now been all over with us!  And sadly, on our way back from Ireland, somehow the zipper was broken on the backpack/case so I emailed Graco and they sent two new cases for free!  Plus most airlines let you check baby gear for free, so we stuff our pack n play full to free up room in our other luggage!

Stroller -- pretty sure you all know about my love for our city mini stroller (definitely not paid to say that) but it has been so great to have a stroller that folds up really easily (and fairly small), is light, yet also has amazing wheels to get us all over the cobble stones and old European streets.  And coming back from Ireland, the clips were broken making the stroller unsafe so I emailed BabyJogger and we have since received not one, not two but FOUR extra buckle pieces for free (and I should mention that we have an old old version and they still sent us the buckles).  And an added bonus, it has fit through most airport security x-ray machines (which yes, you have to do in Europe).

Soft Structured Carrier -- I borrowed our friends toddler Tula for Paris and I am obsessed.  Seriously the best carrier ever invented.  It was soft, comfortable and most important for traveling -- it can fold up fairly small (compared to our Ergo 360).  We primarily use the carrier for airports and train travel (getting on and off the trains/airplanes).  So far in Europe, we have had to take Serafina out of the carrier more often than not going through security -- I think the only place we didn't have to take her out was Ireland -- but it has been a big help for the long walks to the airplanes and each of us having two hands to carry bags and whatnot.

Hiking Carrier -- we bought a used hiking carrier when we first got here so that we didn't have to use a stroller in some places.  We got this one and really like it -- however, Serafina isn't the biggest fan.  We used it in Portugal when she was younger and she did much better.  She hated it in Germany, but I think that was more the cold rather than anything.  While we haven't used it much, I still highly recommend one -- it can be a lot easier in crowded places and bigger cities (but be warned -- it can be bulky and difficult to travel with).

Lightweight Car Seat -- we ended up with a slight car seat dilemma when we were set to move here: Serafina still fit in her infant seat but we knew traveling with the car seat and base Seattle to Spain would be a pain.  We didn't want to lug our huge (nice, new, expensive) convertible car seat across the world either.... so we ended up getting a very inexpensive car seat -- we went with this one.  It does not have all the bells and whistles, however, it meets all the safety requirements and is insanely lightweight (about 9 pounds) making it very easy to carry through an airport.  Now, I would not use this as my everyday car seat, but for travel it works great -- it doesn't work as well as a rear-facing car seat since it sits a little too upright for it to be comfortable, but works great as a forward-facing travel car seat!
*I should note that all the airlines we have flown (and our friends have flown) check a car seat for free.  We use a specific car seat bag (so we can shove some other things in there) -- but many airlines just put the car seat in a plastic bag and that works great too.  We've used this bag in the past but it is a little difficult to carry and I worry about it staying shut, so we recently got this bag and will be trying it out on our next trip -- and I will be loading it up with diapers and such so it doesn't take up space in our luggage)!

UPDATE on the bag (July 2018) 00 we have carted this bag all over Europe (only when we will be renting a car as our Peanut doesn't use a car seat on the airplane) and we love it!  It keeps our car seat safe and we can load it up with lighter weight items (clothes, diapers, etc.) and check it for free and no one has said anything!  I usually keep the whole bag under 15kg -- but so far so good with our luck of checking it for free!

We are still on the hunt for the best day pack.  We have found that we really don't need too much stuff with us each day, but a backpack works best and keeps our stuff in one place.  So if anyone has a great day pack that they love let me know!

Let me know if you have any good travel gear -- we are always adding to our collection!

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